Miller Back In Form For Sabres

We’re back so let’s take a little skate around hockey and see what’s new.

The Sabres come to the Bell Centre tonight following a very emotional win over the Maple Leafs. Those Sabres-Leaf games in Buffalo are always loud affairs, with enemy fans invading the building and chanting whatever it is they chant.

But Patrick Kaleta got the Buffalo fans back on his team’s side with this hit and fight early in the contest (below) and the Leafs proceeded to self-destruct shortly after, with Colton Orr being assessed a triple minor for roughing (never saw that before) while the Sabres Mike Weber got only two minutes. The Sabres struck twice on the power play and cruised from there to a 3-1 win, only their second victory in the past five games.

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Most importantly for Buffalo, Ryan Miller — who has been bothered by
various injuries this season — looked completely healed last night. He
shut out Toronto for 56-plus minutes and looked strong doing so, making
35 saves (31 in the final two periods) and playing very composed in the
net, like on this first period breakaway stop on speedy Phil Kessel (video).
The only goal he allowed was a shorthanded tally by Kessel that was set
up by Sabres d-man Jordan Leopold, who put a rebound of Kessel’s
original shot right back on Kessel’s stick (video). Can’t blame the goalie for that one.

Miller should be in goal tonight against the Habs.

Craig Rivet, who has
been in and out of the lineup for Buffalo, was out again last night and
could be scratched again tonight. After missing five games, he was back
in the lineup last weekend and was a minus-4, so coach Lindy Ruff put
Mike Weber in his spot. Rivet’s mobility has diminished and Weber, an
AHL All-Star last season, is pretty physical and can keep up with the
play. If coach Lindy Ruff sticks with last night’s lineup, Weber will partner with Shaone Morrisonn as Buffalo’s third defensive
unit behind Tyler Myers-Andrej
Sekera and Steve Montador-Jordan Leopold.

There are questions about Rivet remaining as captain of the Sabres, since he’s not playing much, but Ruff told reporters that he had no problem with the ex-Hab keeping the C for now because he’s still an excellent team leader and is working hard in practice. Rivet, himself, is wondering if his staying captain is in the best interests of the club.

Center Rob Niedermayer will be out for another week with a knee problem and center Tim Connolly
has missed the last two games with a groin injury.

Buffalo scored twice on the PP last night and was perfect on six Leaf PPs, but their special teams have not been very special on the season. They are 25th on the PP and 21st on the PK. Kaleta got their first shorthanded goal of the season last night.

The Sabres haven’t done very well in the second game of back to backs this season: They have two wins in seven games. The Habs have one win in three.

*   *   *

Wes
Goldstein of CBS,com
has a first quarter report card on the entire Eastern
Conference and the Canadiens are one of the A teams, alongside the Caps
and just behind the Flyers A+. Here’s what he writes: “The next time Carey Price tells people to chill out, no one will argue. Price has
silenced his critics — no easy task in Montreal — by playing
goal the way everyone thought he could and triggering Montreal’s
fast start. Jaroslav Halak has become a faded memory while Price has been the
story of the season for a team that seems determined to prove its
surprising playoff run last spring was not the fluke many believe.
Grade: A”

Not exactly a thorough anaysis of why the Habs
fared so well in the early going, although Price has been their most
consistent player and arguably the most consistent goalie in the league.

*   *   *

You’ve heard of trades for a player to be named
later, but here’s a story about a team that was named later.

Last
night, the AHL Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders affiliate, played
the first half of a home-and-home series in Bridgeport against the
Hartford Wolfpack, the Rangers affiliate. They play the second half
tonight — but not against the Wolfpack but the Connecticut Whale.
Wha??? Yes, the team has been re-named and will be re-launched tonight.

Habs
fans old enough to recall the Adams Division and the Hartford Whalers
will be happy to learn that Howard Baldwin, who was the managing partner of the team during the WHA years and most of their NHL years, is back in control of pro hockey in that town. He rechristened the AHL club in honor of his old NHL team, sort of. There’s confusion about who owns the rights to the name Hartford Whalers and, wary of a lawsuit, Baldwin just called them the Whale.

They’ve changed the look of the team’s website, but the URL is still hartfordwolfpack.com. The old green, white and blue colors are back but the new logo has not been greeted with universal approval.

He still hopes to return the Whalers to the NHL and in today’s New York Times, Thomas Kaplan has a good story about those efforts.

No word yet if the Whale will be using the old Whalers song “Brass Bonanza” after they score.

*   *   *

Thanks to all you great HIO readers for being patient while I get settled at my new job writing the blog Red Light for Sport Illustrated’s website. Still trying to figure out how I’m going to do it all, but I’ll make every effort to post here at least a couple of times each week.

27 Comments

  1. timkbryant says:

    Triple minor? I’ve never even heard of that before. I can figure out what it means, but I didn’t think such a thing existed.

    Fundamentally it sounds more severe than a major, so why not assess a major+1?

  2. Kimberly2u says:

    N.B I’m actually from Moncton, moved to Ontario 9 years now…have a good night too….

  3. N.B.habs fan says:

    Hi Kim,Iam from Florenceville-Bristol area.Where were you from?I also lived in F’ton for 10 yrs and I used to go to the F’ton Canadiens games.Have a good night,and to your other half ,I do hope the Leafs beat the Sens.

  4. Kimberly2u says:

    Thanks N.B Habs fan…I’m actually from NB…nice to meet you and everyone here…I can’t wait for the game tonight..they should win as they seem to be able to win against the better teams but for some reason when they play the lower teams we lose…I hope they come out tonight and Price gets aother shutout…

  5. SmartDog says:

    5 (CHALLENGING) QUESTIONS:

    - moved to the game thread -

    ——-

    “This is a good hockey team and no matter what situation you’re put in, you’re out there with smart hockey players.” – Jeff Halpern after his winning goal against the Laffs

  6. mike g says:

    Anyone else notice Benoit Brunet last night?

    When Subban and Pleks were getting pushed around, he was raving about how Lapierre was so quick to come into the scrum and defend them.

    I couldn’t stop laughing.

    You can clearly see Lapierre doing absolutely nothing. He just skated towards the scrum, and funny enough he grabbed the ATL player once the ref had him in a hold. So, Laps went there to grab the ref.

    He then went on to say that we can’t bash Lapierre this year, cuz he’s apparently doing such a great job defensing his teammates. Well, last time I remember him dropping his gloves he got embarassed. And I think it’s the only time he faught this year.

    And against LA, Brunet was talking about his 3 kids’ favorite players:

    - Cammy, Price,…and….Lapierre.

    Oyoyoye..

    What are we gonna do about this Brunet fella?

     

    “These head movies make my eyes rain” -Simple Jack

    I got AK at under 64.5 pts, with Triple X and Tom Nickle.

  7. habs365 says:

    you should be doing the schedule..you hit the nail right on the head

  8. habs365 says:

    Kimberly, nice to have you on the site..as you were saying the Habs didn’t show up last night and you were right on..I’ll add to that..their scoring..when you can’t put a puck 3″ in diameter in a net 6′ x 4′ really it doesn’t matter what goalie is in net the odd time they’ll steal a game..they’re not gonna win a lot of games..so far they’ve lucked in and that’s from a combination of good playing and goaltending, when they don’t do that..they usually don’t win and that’s what happened last night…..

  9. otter649 says:

    Nice change for The Habs when playing a friday night game & then playing the next night not having their opponent rested & waiting in Montreal for them with The Sabres playing & beating The Leafs last night………

  10. Stu Hackel says:

    After my first week, I felt like I’d been there for a month. It was a pretty huge week for news, with the Colie-mail flap, the Islanders firing their coach and banning blogger Chris Botta, Pat Burns dying, and a few other things. This week was a bit easier. Overall I like it a lot.  I have a very good editor and they’ve been very welcoming. Like any new job, it’s a bit of a change, some new things to get used to, but I can use team nicknames like Habs, Isles and B’s (The Times discourages that) and don’t have to put periods between N.H.L. like I did at The Times. Thanks for asking, Prop.

  11. Propwash says:

    Glad to see you back Stu! How do you like your new gig at SI?

     

    Goalies in Montreal have two roles, netminder and scapegoat. 

  12. Danno says:

    Always remember NHL is an initialism and not an acronym, Stu. If in doubt, consult Boone.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  13. Flabadagub says:

    Didn’t Igor Ulanov get a triple roughing penalty along with an elbowing or cross-check for 8 min in penaties in one play while playing for the Habs?

  14. Kimberly2u says:

    Hi all, I’m new to the site.  Just wanted to say hi and hope they win tonight big time.

  15. Danno says:

    Hi Kimberly! Tonight we are due for a big win. If you enjoy chatting with fellow Habs fan, you’ve come to the right place. Have fun!

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  16. Da Hema says:

    Hello Kimberly. Welcome to the brave world of HIO posting!!

    ————————

    An important announcement from the Government of Canada:

    Health Canada is reminding Canadians that consumption of the Toronto Maple Leafs has led to vomiting, fever, bloody diarrhea, dementia, and penile dysfunction.

  17. N.B.habs fan says:

    Welcome Kim,there are alot of lady fans on HIO.Don’t be afraid to speak uour mind.I really do feel better when Price in net,hope he has a shutout tonight……..

  18. mrhabby says:

    welcome and have fun.

  19. Kimberly2u says:

    Thanks Danno, I’ve actually been reading the site for quite some time and decided to join in on the chats.  They didn’t even show up last night…so tonight I hope they wear out Miller since he’s just come back…lol

  20. SmartDog says:

    Welcome! (add fanfare, yadda, yadda)

    My sympathies for your living situation. At least we know who has the upper hand. :)

    ——-

    “This is a good hockey team and no matter what situation you’re put in, you’re out there with smart hockey players.” – Jeff Halpern after his winning goal against the Laffs

  21. larisalapointe says:

    SI is better with STU. I guess they finally realized they weren’t doing hockey enough justice. :)

  22. habs365 says:

    gotta give it to ya..that’s funny..not so sure about using the homeless..some of the Habs should be in that position..maybe they’d come prepared to play a hockey game

  23. Danno says:

    Good analysis of the Sabres Stu. Thanks for this. Love that Brass Banana song too.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  24. Stu Hackel says:

    Thanks Danno. Yeah, I hope they use the song. We’ll see….

  25. habrez says:

    Whalers logo was one of the best. Can’t say I like the Whale. Too bush league


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